Internet Safety Tips

The Internet offers the potential for safe, convenient new ways to shop for financial services and conduct banking business 24-7. However, safe banking online involves making good choices – decisions that will help you avoid costly surprises or even scams.


Below are seven tips for safely banking online.


1.     Select a Strong Password — Create a password with at least eight characters and include a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, special characters and numerals. Do not use the same password for more than one financial institution, and do not write any of your passwords down. Change them periodically.


2.      Install Security Software — Malicious software programs exist to monitor keystrokes and "phone home" periodically with the results of that monitoring. This type of virus is called a "key logger." To reduce the possibility of having your passwords stolen by a virus, install an Internet security program that provides comprehensive protection from viruses and password theft.


3.      Do Not Click Email Links — Beware of “phishing and smishing.” Phishing occurs when someone poses as a trusted source (such as your credit union or a retailer) and asks for personal information, or instructs you to click on a link within an email. Never open attachments or click on any links. If it looks like an alert, go directly to the company’s website and look for information there. Your credit union, card issuer or retailer will never ask for personal information in an e-mail. “Smishing” is the same idea as phishing, but it’s through text messaging.


4.      Beware of Pop-Ups and False Ads — Do not respond to pop-up ads that request feedback or encourage you to sign up to win prizes, even if they appear to be from a reputable retailer. These ads can infect your computer with a virus that accesses your personal financial information from your computer. Disable pop-ups on your computer, make sure your computer is up-to-date with anti-virus software, and back-up your files to an external drive regularly.


5.      Banking with Mobile Devices — Avoid using any mobile banking application not provided or endorsed by the credit union. Configure the application not to save your password. Otherwise, losing your phone or having it stolen could cause a major security breach.


6.      Pay Attention to Transactions — Pay close attention to your transaction history online. If you see a transaction that you do not remember approving--even if the transaction is small--contact your credit union immediately. In credit card theft, a common technique is to check a card number for validity by attempting to complete a small transaction. If it goes through, the next attempt is for hundreds--perhaps thousands--of dollars.


7.      Log Off When Your Business Is Complete — If anyone else has physical access to the computer that you use to do your banking online, always log off when your business is complete. This reduces the possibility of someone else using the computer while your session is still active.